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tv   News  Al Jazeera  August 13, 2015 4:00am-4:31am EDT

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>> we have to get out of here. >> a truck bomb. two explosives rock the china city of tianjin. >> i'm top of istanbul's ground
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bazaar. after deal qaedas of neglect r with one tremor, an entire roof came crashing down. two huge blasts rock one of the world's busiest ports in the chinese city of tianjin. 36 firemen are still missing. adriane brown has more from the site of the explosions in tianjin. >> reporter: china is unused to scenes like this. sudden and deadly explosions getting one of the world's busiest ports. large fire balls illuminated
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tianjin incinerating cars. some people say it felt like an earthquake. >> i was sitting after watching a film and had my window open. i heard a rush of air followed by a second much larger rush of air that sounded like a shock wave. i looked outside and saw the plume of smoke. >> reporter: officials say the multiple detonations were caused by explosives stored in a warehouse close to a residential area. others described hazardous materials combusting. at first local hospitals struggled to cope with the tide of injured. this does feel like a disaster own. the hermes have been contaminated which means nobody knows what they are breathing in right now.
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officials believe this was an industrial accident. an exclusion zone has been imposed in tianjin where the investigation into how this accident happened has now begun. police say the owners of the warehouse where the explosions happened have been detained. >> adriane sent this update from the disaster zone. >> reporter: this is very close to the epicenter of wednesday night's detonation. people we have spoken to say what happened was like an earthquake. everywhere you look, you feel as though you are looking at the aftermath of an earthquake. the devastation is over a wide area. the shock wave had a radius about several kilometers. wherever you look, you see trashed cars, windows smashed out. some vehicles have been completely crushed. a lot of the damage was caused by shipping containers which were turned into missiles. hundreds of people are being
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treated in local hospitals, many treated for injuries caused by flying glass and, of course, concrete. several hundred firemen are still trying to bring the blaze under control. it's taking place over here in the distance where you can see that jumble of containers and the smoke billowing in the background. the authorities insist what happened here was an industrial accident. but the president is watching things very closely. he's urging the authorities to bring the fire under control as soon as possible and to assure that everyone living nearby is safe and that their homes are protected. >> china tried to alleviate fears that its currency would not devalue further. the yuan fell. on tuesday it dropped 1.9% after a surprise rate in exchange policy. china's trade partners accuse bee ching of manipulating the
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yuan to make its exports cheaper. in iraq 55 people have been killed at a bombing at a vegetable market in baghdad. a suicide bomber detonated explosives. we are joined in baghdad with an update. presumably a busy time in the morning at that particular market. has there been a claim of responsibility? >> reporter: not as of yet. in fact, it was targeted specifically because it is a densely populated area. this was a vegetable market. clearly, the planners behind this attack meant to cause as many casualties as possible. 55 now dead according to police. it's expected that that number will rise, over 200 injured. so it is a very dire and devastating scene in a predominantly shia neighborhood.
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and while nobody has claimed responsibility, it is expected that perhaps a group like isil could be behind this because in the past, the city has been target would because it is home to so many shia citizens. this is an area target would by sunni fighters, different groups over the years because they tried to stoke sectarianism at a time when there is a delicate balance in this country. so a very difficult time for security. now there are a lot of fears these types of attacks can happen in other parts of the city. a few nights ago there were similar attacks, car bombs in baqouba, another shia town. dozens were killed, dozens more wounded. so a tenuous time as far as the security situation, even in the capital and many fear it's going to get worse. >> thank you.
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in myanmar, two politicians have been removed from office. soldiers surrounded the offices. the party's secretary general has been removed. tensions have been rising over the selection of candidate its ahead of november's election. tell us whether this will affect the upcoming election and why this is happening. >> the deadline for submission for the candidates in november. the military offered a number of candidates that the leadership, the former leaders who also happens to be speaker of parliament rejected. the list was not to the
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military's liking. so it appears that the tension that's been building up over the last few months came to a head. and that's why trucks surrounded the headquarters at around 10:0l time. as you say, the speaker of parliament and chairman as well as the secretary general have been held in what is a de facto house arrest. it should be noted that the president of myanmar is closely aligned with the military has also reshuffled the cabinet. the minister and deputy ministers, both the border affairs ministry and the defense ministry, have been let go. at least ten others have been quote, unquote, allowed to resign. so what you are seeing is a dramatic shift towards military leverage within what is
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nominally civilian government. don't forget, 25% of the parliament is allocated to the military. there are many positions that are appointed by the military and unaccountable to the civilian government. they should be seen in the context of the november elections insofar as the u.s. itself has said it will be a litmus test to see whether the remnants of the military dictatorship that has run myanmar for decades is willing to let go of power. >> thank you very much for that update. the president has dismissed the government led by the prime minister, making the announcement on a national radio program. it came after political infighting between the two leaders. the u.n. secretary general
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has forced to resign. we report from the u.n. headquarters in new york. >> anguished, ashamed, anger. united nations secretary general ban ki-moon's response after allegations u.n. peace keepers raped a 12-year-old girl and were behind killings in the central african republic. >> the disturbing number of allegations we have seen in many countries, but particularly in the central africa republic in the period before u.n. peace keepers were deployed and since speaks for the need to take action now. enough is enough. >> allegations of wrongdoing in the central african republic started last year when french troops were accused of sexual misconduct before the peacekeeping operation began and
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still prompted ban ki-moon to create a panel to look into t it's been in operation for a year and a half. it's made up of more than 10,000 troops and police from more than 45 countries. the spokesperson for ban ki-moon announced wednesday there have been 57 allegations of misconduct by u.n. peacekeeping troops in the central african republic, including 11 case of possible sexual abuse. that's a far higher thumb than what is previously been made public. the u.n. peacekeeping pragues started three years after the u.n. was found in 1945. to date there have been 63 missions around the globe. peacekeeping missions won the nobel peace price in 1988, but there have been notable failures. in congo in 2004 there were allegations of sexual ex-ploy tags and rape. in the 1990s, reports came to light of u.n. peace keepers
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participating in alleged sex trafficking and prostitution. but they have gone beyond sexual transgressions. troops in haiti were accused of causing one of the largest chollera infections. the u.n. was ashamed they could not stop the 1994 genocide where 800,000 were killed. dutch peace capers force muslim families out of their compound, the males were rounded up and massacred in what international courts describe as a genocide. now, with the latest scandal, the world's top diplomat stepping in to show accountability and change. plenty more to come on al jazeera including upcoming elections. tiger rebels are now fighting
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for votes. plus, a lethal cocktail, the risk of being poisoned the wrong kind of alcohol in indonesia.
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>> the top stories on al jazeera. at least 55 people have been killed when a bomb loaded i expn baghdad. a suicide bomber drove the truck. at least 44 people have been killed in two huge explosions in one of the world's busiest port
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notice china. hundreds more were injured and 36 firemen are reported missing. the blast is tianjin was so big it was felt miles from the scene. senior politicians have been removed from office. iran's foreign minister is in damascus. he avoided giving exact details on what was discussed, but described the he can change as good. meanwhile, there's been no let-up in the fighting in syria. >> reporter: the rebel strong hold was one of several held towns around the capital targeted by government air strikes. the military regularly attacks these regions, but the latest was in retaliation for an assault on the government seat of power. casualties were caused as
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rockets landed in damascus. rebels occasionally fire mortars into the capital from the countryside, but this was intense and lasted for about two hours. many say the attack was a message to the syrian government and its main ally, iran, whose foreign minister was expect in damascus hours later. zarif has been in beirut as part of efforts to promote peace. he has called for talks with gulf arab leaders who are worried about iran's growing influence in the region. >> translator: we want to extend the hand of cooperation to all neighbors in this region. we are ready to cooperation and exchange ideas for joint action between these countries to combat extremism and ex-tearannism. >> reporter: there are a few details. iranian media reported the plan would involve a cease fire.
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amending the constitution and holding elections under international supervision. the main problem for the opposition is president assad. >> still the pending issue is the fate of the president assad. the iranian initiative is based with saudi condition. the number one saudi condition is there is to place for assad in any possible solution inside syria. >> reporter: saudi arabia made that position clear after he met his russian counterpart in moscow. there is a push for the diplomatic conflict. it's led by iran and russia. the international community does agree on the need to find an agreement. but forming the basis of negotiations is proving to be difficult. there are many players in this
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conflict with diverging interests. some opposition leaders believe iran and russia are pushing for a deal because the syrian government is facing military and economic pressures. assad's backers are not showing a sign of compromise not until they consider to secure their strategic goals. pro government forces in yemen are gaining more ground from houthi rebels. they are just 125 kilometers from the capital. they have taken six districts in the city. most of the south is now held by pro government forces. they are being backed by saudi arabia-led air strikes. meanwhile, the uae has been a key military backer of the saudi led coalition attempting to roll back the houthi advance. former american president jimmy carter announced he's
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suffering from cancer. the 90-year-old nobe nobel laure has hospitalized to have a tumor removed. he's rearranging his schedule to undergo further treatment. carter traveled the ward supporting humanitarian endeavors and fighting for human rights. south korea's government is monitoring reports that north korea's vice premier has been executed. the news agency says he was killed by firing squad in may. a number of high profile political figures have been killed this year. south korea says he was last season publicly in december. a group of separatist fighters will compete for seats in sri lanka's elections. they want to help people in the
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north. >> reporter: the symbol has changed, much like the fighters who use it. he was part of the armed group, the tigers, who fought a 30 year civil war for independence in the north and east. today he's one of nine former fighters vying for seats in sri lanka's parliament. >> translator: we couldn't continue watching people suffering hardship. we fought for them. but the arms struggle was defeated. they are only looking at their own gains, not the people. >> reporter: the only non-fighter in the group is a former and determined outspoken newspaper. he says the people still have a lot of respect for the former fighters, for their commitment and their sacrifice. >> the commitment is there. but the struggle has changed.
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>> a track this group appears to have accepted as the only option. >> after the war ended in 2009 there was no option of a non-struggle. the only way to protect our people now is to get elected as representatives. >> his party is contesting in just two districts of the northern province. the lack of money, he says, is one reason. the former fighters don't have the resources or the slick pr campaign of mainstream political parties. they say they have a deep and proven commitment to serve the people which they will do through the democratic process. people's reaction to these candidates are mixed. some are welcomed as the best to a deteriorating situation. >> translator: when you give them a leaflet, they say the
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police or army may come after them. >> reporter: group has faced accusations. charges he denies. many say the emergence of a new voice is at the center of conflict. indonesia is trying to limit the sale of alcohol by raising import duties and proposing a ban. tourist operators are worried it will put off foreign visitors. and they will turn to illicit brews that are often poisonous. >> reporter: he turned blind eight years ago, two days after drinking homemade alcohol bought on the street, he lost his optical nerves. it's estimated that hundreds of people in indonesia die after drinking lethal cocktails
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containing highly toxic methinol. >> translator: for us as his parents, he always drove, now he can't see. >> reporter: even people who think they are buying official bottled alcohol run the risk of being poisoned. he showed us how he prepares fake whiskey and sells it as the real thing. the contents are alarming. alcohol normally used to disinfect woods, caffeine from an energy drink and water. but business is booming. he doesn't want his identity to be revealed. >> translator: demand is increasing right now because the price of real alcohol has gone up. they are trying to reduce the
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cost. >> reporter: indonesia spirit and wine association says sales of official alcoholic drinks are down by nearly 50%. >> translator: people will still look for alcohol. if they don't find real alcohol and the government does not put measures in place, the use of illicit alcohol will increase. more people will die and also the fact that tourists have died is not good for our reputation. >> reporter: cold to the world health organization, the alcohol consumption is among the lowest in the world. but the government says tough regulations are needed to protect its population. >> translator: people can die of alcohol poisoning anywhere. just because only a few people die doesn't mean we can let 250 million indonesians drink alcohol. that's why our policy is undesirable for people in indonesia to drink. >> reporter: a draft to ban alcohol is being discussed by parliament. import duties on alcohol are
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also being increased. a draft of the law banning alcohol will be exceptions for tourism and cultural celebrations. but opponent its say it will present an increase in deaths. whether the new stricter measures will save lives will remain to be seen. in the meantime, they continue to be warned about the dangers. the u.s. investmental protection agency says water quality from a colorado river has returned to the same level it was before 11 million liters were released from a gold mine. and drought stricken california is rolling out a new water saving initiative.
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tens of thousands of shade balls are dumped into reservoirs. they block sunlight from hitting the water and reduce evaporates. they are expected to save over a billion liters of water. the ground bizarre in istanbul is six centuries hold. hundreds of thousands of visitors walk through it. but the roof could come crashing down without restoration as we report in our special series. >> above the tourists, emergency welded supports are all that is stopping this roof from crashing down. decades of neglect and water damage have left brick work crumbling. the chamber of architects is shocked by the danger the roof
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poses. >> translator: right now safety is at stake. istanbul is in an earthquake zone. we are expecting a serious quake. with the building in this condition, we don't need to wait for a quake. it could collapse any time. the measures aren't enough. >> reporter: a few days after our interview, a rain storm exposed just how vulnerable the roof is. the roof was once covered with lead. 30 years ago in a botched restoration, the lead was stripped and replaced with tiles and cement. he admitted that the bizarre hasn't gone up in flames. >> translator: we had our own small firefighting team. these days fires can ignite quickly, even at night in these types of structures.
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if that happens, we don't have pipes to circulate air. >> reporter: the renovation work should be again by the end of the year, two years behind schedule. it's been slowed down by bureaucracy and the 4,000 businesses here have a say in the project. when the renovation work eventually starts, it's going to take about five years because they are only going to work at night so that they don't have to close the bizarre during the day. until that work is finished, traders can only hope that there will be no earthquakes or tremors. for 560 years deals have been made and bargains struck. but if the repairs are delayed for much longer, it will be the traders and the city's cultural heritage that pay a heavy price. in part two of our global heritage series on friday, we
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are in the west bank city where palestinian archaeologists have discovered the burial place of st. steven, the first christian martyr. they hope the discovery will attract more visitors. but israel restricts movement of tourists. >> let us bow our heads for a word of prayer. our father and our most gracious god. as this family, the murdough family and their friends, as they gather, we ask that you send your comforter, your holy spirit, your guide, to be with them. >> queens, new york. jerome murdough's family is laying him to rest. four months ago, 56-year-old jerome was arrested for